|Vandals Halt Roadrunners, 96-69|
BAKERSFIELD, Calif.—After a 96-point performance Thursday at Utah Valley, the University of Idaho women’s basketball team continued to roll inside the Icardo Center at CSU Bakersfield. Idaho scored 51 points in the first half and left Bakersfield with a 96-69 victory on Saturday.
The Vandals are now 6-0 in conference play, continuing on a historic conference-run not seen since the 1981-82 season. Idaho has opened 2014 with six consecutive wins, scoring 90 points or more three times this season, the most since the 1998-99 season (3x).
Idaho (13-7, 6-0 WAC) used the three-point shot to get out in front of CSU Bakersfield. The Vandals set a new season-high, hitting 14 shots from beyond the arch. The Vandals shot season-highs of 56.0 percent (14-of-25) from three-point range and 57.6 percent (38-of-66) from the field. Junior Stacey Barr led the three-point barrage, hitting 4-of-5 on the day. Barr finished with a game-high 23 points, coming the 19th player in Idaho history with 1,000 career-points. She has now scored in double digits in 24 of her last 26 games.
“I loved our aggression in transition,” head coach Jon Newlee said. “We got out and really ran and were able to spread the floor. I think Ali [Forde] really hurt them inside early and that opened up the outside for us.”
It became clear early on that the game was going to a physical matchup for the Vandals. Sophomore Ali Forde scored 16 points, all inside the paint. Idaho outscored Bakersfield down low, 44-38. The Vandals entered Saturday 10th in the nation, averaging 15.1 fouls per game. Bakersfield’s physicality forced Idaho into committing 18 fouls. The Silver and Gold earned only nine free-throw attempts, tying a season low. Idaho hit six shots from the line.
“It was an extremely physical battle,” Newlee noted. “There was a lot of stuff going on out there. We handled it well and didn’t lose our composure. We just kept battling and blocking out. I told the team in the locker room that I was proud of how they kept their composure and just focused on playing basketball.”
The Vandals had five players score in double-digits for the third time this season. Freshman Brooke Reilly scored in double-digits for the second consecutive game. She finished the day with 12 points. Sophomore Connie Ballestero added 12 points and four assists. Senior Alyssa Charlston finished with 11 points and four rebounds.
“We were so unselfish tonight,” Newlee said. “The movement of the basketball was fantastic. If somebody was open they got the ball, they got their look and they knocked it down. That is what team basketball is all about.”
The Vandals opened the first half on a 23-10 run, capped off by a Charlston layup at the 12:12 mark. Junior Maren Austgulen closed the first half with a three-point basket just before the buzzer to give Idaho a 51-27 lead. Idaho’s 51 points were the most scored in a first half this season. Austgulen finished with six points, shooting 2-of-3 from three-point range.
Coach Newlee, for the second straight game, was able to get his bench some extended playing time. Freshman Agueda Trujillo Fernandez recorded five points in her 12 minutes. Senior Addie Schivo played 17 minutes in relief, adding two points.
Bakersfield (8-8, 2-2 WAC) had its nine-game winning streak at the Icardo Center snapped on Saturday. Tyonna Outland, the WAC’s leading scorer (20.1 ppg), was held to just 13 points. Melissa Sweat led the Roadrunners with 18 points.
Idaho will return to the Cowan Spectrum on Thursday, Jan. 23. The Vandals will face Grand Canyon for the first time in school-history. Game time is set for 6 p.m. PT.
Notes: Idaho scored 96 points in back-to-back games, its first time scoring 90 points or more since opening the 1998-99 season with 93 and 92-point performances…Idaho hit 38 FG’s, the most this season…the Vandals have made at least one three-point basket in 185 consecutive games…Charlston (1,403) became the sixth player in Idaho history to break 1,400 career-points.